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Developers Want Malls to Become Warehouses or Offices. It Is a Slog.

Potential land mines await those seeking to raze and redevelop a space that spans dozens of football fields

Many developers look at failing malls and envision modern office campuses, bustling warehouses or residential buildings. But some are finding that converting these shopping centers isn’t so easy.

Repurposing a mall is expensive. New owners typically need to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars on construction and labor, developers and brokers say.

Continue reading at The Wall Street Journal.

For more information about New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, and New Jersey industrial space or other New Jersey commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey commercial real estate broker that specializes in New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, and New Jersey industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey industrial space with the New Jersey commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our New Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

 

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Air Cargo Construction is Booming, Thanks to Amazon

Since the pandemic started nearly a year ago, 15,000 fewer people arrive and depart daily from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, known as CVG. Yet the 60% drop in passenger traffic is not so apparent on the airport’s four runways, which are handling a record amount of air cargo — nearly 4,000 tons a day.

Ranked by the Federal Aviation Administration as the nation’s sixth-largest cargo airport, CVG’s standing is about to climb higher.

Amazon Air, the e-commerce giant’s 5-year-old cargo airline, is completing a 798,000-square-foot sorting center, seven-level parking structure and acres of freshly poured concrete to accommodate 20 aircraft. The new facility, under construction on a 640-acre site along the airport’s southern boundary, is scheduled to open in the fall. It represents about a third of the $1.5 billion, 3-million-square-foot air cargo hub Amazon is committed to building at CVG.

“This hub is going to let us to get packages to customers faster,” Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and chief executive, said during the groundbreaking ceremony at CVG in May 2019. “That’s a big deal.”

By far the largest air cargo construction project in the airport’s 74-year history, the mile-long facility will be the center of Amazon Air’s national air transport network, which now has more than 70 aircraft and hundreds of daily flights to 35 other cities in the United States. Last week, Amazon announced the purchase of 11 Boeing 767-300 aircraft as part of an effort to expand its fleet.

The new building is a signal measure of Amazon’s influence as the largest online retailer and its dedication to fast delivery. Both have helped generate a wave of air cargo construction at airports across the United States.

FedEx, the world’s largest air cargo carrier, handled an average of 6.2 million air packages a day last year, a 48% increase over 2016. The company just opened a $290 million, 51-acre project at the Ontario International Airport in Southern California. It features a 251,000-square-foot sorting facility, spacious concrete ramps, nine gates, 18 truck loading docks and the capacity to handle 12,000 packages an hour.

UPS and Amazon also operate out of older buildings at the airport, which is handling 30% more cargo than it did in 2019. “There is a lot of consumer behavior that permanently changed in 2020,” said Mark A. Thorpe, the airport’s chief executive. “We’re seeing levels of cargo today that were expected in 2028.”

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the second-largest air cargo airport in the United States after Memphis International Airport, is planning for $500 million in new freight and package handling and sorting facilities. The demand for more space by the airport’s cargo companies — among them Alaska Cargo & Cold Storage, 6A Aviation, FedEx, UPS and Amazon — is soaring. As of the end of September 2020, the airport reported that 2.3 million tons of cargo had touched down in Alaska, a 9% increase over the same nine-month period in 2019.

At Chicago Rockford International, plans are underway to build a 90,000-square-foot cargo facility. As soon as it opens in the spring, the airport will start another 100,000-square-foot cargo project for DB Schenker, Emery Air and Senator International. Last year, Rockford completed a $22.3 million, 192,000-square-foot facility for Amazon, along with $14 million in concrete aprons sturdy enough for Boeing 747 aircraft.

“The traffic in cargo is responsible for all the new demand at airports now,” said Rex J. Edwards, an industry analyst and vice president of the Campbell-Hill Aviation Group, a Northern Virginia consulting firm. “The cargo carriers want more airport space. They need room to park planes and facilities that meet next-day delivery requirements. That is the evolution of the business now.”

Before the pandemic, e-commerce sales were growing more than 10% annually, pushing total air cargo to 12 million tons last year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a unit of the Transportation Department. Federal analysts project that air cargo will reach 45 million tons annually by midcentury. But executives at big air shippers, airports and airplane manufacturers say that the pandemic altered online commerce so substantially that the industry will hit that mark a decade sooner.

Three years ago, Philadelphia International Airport paid $54.5 million for 135 undeveloped acres next to the airfield. The airport is now developing a master plan for the ground that includes 1.5 million square feet of cargo handling facilities. “We knew, prepandemic, that cargo was only going to increase,” said Stephanie Wear, the airport’s director of air service development and cargo services.

For the time being, Amazon is the largest influence in new airport cargo construction.

To serve the 14 immense fulfillment centers it built in California near San Bernardino and Riverside, Amazon established a western hub at San Bernardino International Airport. This month, it is finishing a 658,000-square-foot handling and sorting center and two smaller 25,000-square-foot buildings at the 79-year-old airport, which started as a World War II military airfield. The $300 million project includes parking and gates to handle 14 aircraft and 26 flights daily, said Mark Gibbs, the airport’s director of aviation.

No airport is receiving more attention from Amazon Air than Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky. The company liked what it heard from airport executives, who spent the last decade diversifying CVG’s revenue and recovering from a fiscal catastrophe by recruiting air carriers and related companies to its 7,700-acre airport.

In 2008, in the midst of a deep recession, Delta Air Lines unexpectedly shut its regional hub at CVG, halting more than 500 flights a day, closing terminals and throwing the airport into a panic. Executives countered by marketing CVG’s location, a half-day drive or a short flight from most of the major metropolitan regions in the East, Midwest and South. CVG had plenty of space for development, and it is close to important interstate highways and to Cincinnati’s renovated Ohio River shoreline and city center.

The German carrier DHL became interested straightaway and arrived in 2009. Four years later, it completed its 1-million-square-foot North American hub. Amazon arrived in 2017 and contracts for loading and sorting at the DHL facility. FedEx also operates out of the airport.

The air cargo activity generates its own momentum. Five years ago, Wayfair, the online décor and home furnishing company, completed a 900,000-square-foot logistics center at the airport. Last year, FEAM Aero, an aircraft maintenance company, opened a $19 million, 103,000-square-foot aircraft service hangar on an 8-acre site.

Amazon Air’s strategy for cargo routes and ground facilities differs substantially from that of other carriers. Its cargo is composed of goods sold on its own online market. Its airport facilities are close to Amazon’s network of fulfillment centers.

That formula fits Amazon’s decision to settle at CVG, on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River across from Cincinnati. Since 2010, according to the company’s data, Amazon has spent more than $15 billion in Kentucky, much of it on 10 fulfillment and sorting centers, two delivery stations, a customer service center and two Whole Foods Markets. The company says it employs 14,500 people in the state. Its air cargo hub will add 2,000 jobs.

The cargo strategy was essential to keeping CVG operating since March 2020, when the pandemic took hold, said Candace S. McGraw, CVG’s chief executive, who led the work to recruit Amazon and the other carriers.

Air cargo grew 14% in 2020 at CVG and is expected to grow at least 10% more in 2021 and 2022, when Amazon’s new facility is fully operational. Cargo now accounts for 75% of the more than $25 million in annual revenue from landing fees, the second-largest source of CVG’s income after parking.

“We learned the lesson to diversity from Delta,” McGraw said. “We’re grateful for the cargo business.”

*Article courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal 

For more information about New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, and New Jersey industrial space or other New Jersey commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey commercial real estate broker that specializes in New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, and New Jersey industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey industrial space with the New Jersey commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our New Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Apartment Rents, Occupancies Stabilizing in Center City Philadelphia

Philadelphia proved to be one of the most stable major apartment markets in the U.S. during 2020, with rents in many of its suburban submarkets ending the year up more than 4%.

But owners of Center City apartment towers had a much rockier year than their suburban counterparts. Shuttered restaurants and new, work-from-home requirements for downtown office workers meant far fewer renters chasing small but pricey units that make up the bulk of Center City’s apartment stock.

The good news heading into 2021 is that rent and occupancy losses among Center City properties are finally beginning to cease. This sets the stage for a rebound in 2021, although the recovery will likely be gradual, given the large number of projects still on track to begin lease-up in, and around, Center City over the next several months.

*Article courtesy of CoStar

For more information about Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia retail space, and Philadelphia industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia retail space, and Philadelphia industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage, and advisory firm, is a premier Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia retail space, or Philadelphia industrial space with the Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals. If you are looking for Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia retail space, or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Eight Ways the Pandemic Changed Commercial Real Estate

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the commercial real estate market into a series of seismic shifts, accelerating some trends and bringing others to a complete halt. 

It wasn’t so long ago that everyone talked about the importance of shared workspaces, community amenities in apartments and how modern-day consumers preferred experiences over stuff. Those concepts look much different in a world where social distancing is a health imperative.

The public health crisis sparked renewed interest in the suburbs, rendered in-person entertainment and travel businesses impractical and created hot commodities out of dull industrial buildings, now the nerve centers for seemingly anything that can be delivered to a doorstep. 

With 2020 now in the rearview mirror, it would be difficult to overstate how surreal this past year has been. It may, however, have a very real influence on the future.

Here are eight trends of the past year that could have lasting effects on where and how people use space:

8. Telework Accelerates As Employers, Led by the Tech Giants, Shift Workforces Out of the Office

Large technology companies including Facebook and Google emptied their offices long before any shelter-in-place orders were issued, sending employees home. As cases spread, the companies were first to extend their work-from-home policies. They began by pushing deadlines through summer 2021 and, in some cases, indefinitely. 

San Francisco-based Twitter and Square both decided in May that employees would have the chance to permanently work remotely, a shift that triggered a series of smaller companies to follow suit. 

According to CoStar data, most major U.S. cities still report less than 20% physical occupancy of office space as employees remain at home.

The bet among real estate experts is that many employers will retain flexible work-from-home policies even after workers return to the office.

7. Global Tourism Shutdown Strangles Hotel Industry

Travel bans, canceled flights, shelter-in-place orders and strict capacity limits gave the hotel industry little to celebrate in 2020. 

CoStar’s hotel research and analytics company, STR, estimates it could take up to five years for the hospitality sector to fully recover. Revenue per available room, a key metric for hotels, bottomed out after an 80% drop this spring, and average daily rates are estimated to be down by about 21% compared to last year for the remainder of 2020 for hotel properties across the country. 

While recent developments for a COVID vaccine have provided a glimmer of hope for operators, the recent surge in cases across the United States means the industry is far from any semblance of a recovery. Many expect leisure travel to boom once the virus is brought under control and people are freed from their homes but businesses could be slower to send workers back on the road now that many have become accustomed to video and online meeting options. 

6. Nation’s Most Expensive Housing Markets See Renter Exodus 

The country’s multifamily market was suddenly split between expensive urban areas and quiet suburban towns at the onset of the pandemic. As work-from-home trends evolved and renters looked to move out of costly and cramped spaces, crowded downtowns faced a drain in occupancy. 

In the nation’s most expensive apartment housing market, San Francisco, the fallout from the pandemic’s outbreak drove the multifamily vacancy rate up to a historical high of more than 11.5%, according to CoStar data. Comparatively, the national vacancy rate is 6.8%. 

Rents, especially for those among some of the high-end apartment properties, nosedived by as much as 18.3% in the tech-heavy bay city. Landlords have had to respond by offering steep concessions, with some property owners touting perks including as many as three months in free rent, internet credits, personal training sessions and allowances toward moving expenses.

Many will be watching to see if renters re-embrace downtowns once the pandemic subsides or whether the move to less crowded spaces becomes a more durable trend.

5. Companies Pause Development, Expansion Plans 

Search engine giant Google, one of the largest occupants of office space in the country, hit the pause button on operations including data centers, hiring, marketing, travel and real estate investments as pandemic-related uncertainty climbed early this year.

The move was emblematic of a slowdown in the tech industry’s rapid acceleration and leasing activity. As the healthcare and financial crises wore on, companies became increasingly prudent about their future space needs, and many decided to shrink their office footprints, put their space up for sublease or shift entirely to a remote-work model in an effort to curb costs. 

Like other tech companies, Google has started to put its foot back on the gas for development, though the new activity is still below its pre-pandemic level.

4. Biotech Growth Fuels Shift to Life Science Development 

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven historical gains in the biotech sector, pushing fast-growing companies to gobble up space and drive most of the leasing activity for markets across the country. Throughout 2020, rents for lab space rose, vacancies plunged and employment figures climbed. 

The phenomena inspired big-name developers such as Boston Properties to say they would pivotoffice development plans into new life science projects, as leasing from most office users dwindles.

According to a recent report from brokerage CBRE Group, about 14 million square feet of lab space is under construction nationally, but demand among biotech tenants outpaces what’s in the pipeline by almost 2 million square feet. 

In the nation’s top life science markets such as Boston or South San Francisco, lab space vacancy is at a historic low of less than 8%, which has given landlords the chance to drive rental rates even higher. 

3. Trophy Skyscrapers Sell At a Discount

The clearest sign of how some of the leading office sales got done in premier markets this year is the delayed and discounted sale of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, the nation’s most expensive office market. 

After years of growth driven by the city’s tech sector, San Francisco’s office market was in for a rude awakening as the pandemic spread a wet blanket over previously white-hot demand for space among both tenants and investors. In a sign of the times, the anticipated sale of the Transamerica Pyramid office complex was delayed by several months and eventually sold in late October for $650 million, the priciest workspace sale in the city for the year. 

While the price tag was high, it represented 10% off the $711 million purchase price that was originally agreed upon in February. Debate has now begun over whether demand will ever reach as high as it once did for space accessible only by elevator. 

One sign of hope: Facebook’s surprise decision to sign New York City’s largest office lease of the year. The social media giant agreed to move into all 730,000 square feet of office space in the Farley Building at 390 Ninth Ave., which is located in Vornado Realty Trust’s Penn District redevelopment in Manhattan next to the nation’s busiest transportation hub — this after it said in May it would transition its workforce to a remote-work model. 

2. Landlords and Tenants Spar Over Who Should Pay, And How Much

The pandemic split the brick-and-mortar retail world, showing the durability of businesses that provide essential goods such as groceries and pharmaceuticals and rendering uncertain those who products and services could be delivered online or to the home. 

Some sectors found themselves on both sides of the divide: Starbucks and many fast food establishments found their footing by focusing on takeout food while many mom-and-pop restaurants struggled to adapt to ever-changing restrictions.

The crisis left many to reevaluate their real estate footprints, sparking growing tension between landlords. Some decided to take the matter to court as part of attempts to recoup unpaid rent, fight over lease negotiations or break rental agreements entirely. 

One of the more closely watched battles involved the nation’s largest mall property owner, Simon Property Group, who sued the nation’s largest retailer, Gap Inc., over $66 million in unpaid rentstemming from forced store closures across the country. 

The legal tussle escalated with Gap later suing the landlord over failed attempts to renegotiate leases, setting the stage for similar lawsuits among struggling landlords and retailers fighting to protect their businesses in the face of massive drops in business. The pandemic is likely to lead to new lease language in the future.

1. Amazon Expands Mammoth Footprint Even Further With New Leases, Acquisitions

If e-commerce conglomerate Amazon was already on the fast track to growth at the start of this year, the pandemic strapped a rocket pack to its ambitious plans and fueled millions of square feet of new leases and commercial real estate acquisitions. 

According to CoStar analysis, the retailer was on track to expand its fulfillment capacity by 50%, or 300 million square feet, before the end of 2020, a massive spike that drove it to snap up swaths of available industrial space across the country. 

In this year’s second quarter, other retailers were facing steep revenue declines and serious headwinds. However, Amazon invested more than $9 billion in fulfillment, transportation and Amazon Web Services capital projects in that period, according to company SEC filings. 

The company is even willing to throw serious money at plans to open in premier markets including Los Angeles. The strategy is marked by its recent $200 million purchase for the site of a future e-commerce center in San Francisco.

*Article courtesy of CoStar

 

For more information about New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, and New Jersey industrial space or other New Jersey commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey commercial real estate broker that specializes in New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, and New Jersey industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A New Jersey commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey industrial space with the New Jersey commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our New Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Scranton’s Industrial Market Holds on Strong Through 2020

With just a few weeks left in the year, it appears increasingly likely that Scranton will be crowned the 2020 Queen of Pennsylvania logistics.

Her ascension to the throne is somewhat surprising. There were some troublesome signs within the market at the onset of the pandemic. And for years, Northeast Pennsylvania has played second fiddle to Lehigh Valley, which offers better access to New York and Philadelphia.

But CoStar data shows industrial net absorption, the difference between move-ins and move-outs, in Scranton totaled nearly 4 million square feet over the past 12 months, more than every other market contained within the North Atlantic trade corridor.

This region runs from Scranton down to Hagerstown, Maryland, and over the past decade, nearly every serious player in e-commerce has moved into at least one of its small markets. That’s because from them, every major city along the northeastern coast can be reached within hours.

Even with this strong demand, it appeared Scranton was possibly in for some short-term pain the second quarter.

No one had a clue how leasing any commercial property type would function at the onset of the pandemic, and Scranton had millions of square feet of speculative industrial space nearing completion. There was also a concentration of tenants that appeared to be at risk of downsizing within the market.

This could’ve compounded the disruption the new supply would create, and with a surplus of projects set to come online in nearby Lehigh Valley, the competition for new tenants looked like it would be fierce.

Instead, local demand spiked.

The exposed tenants have not downsized their local presence, and most of Scranton’s industrial tenants remain in place. Additionally, major leases were signed by Geodis, Kane Logistics and Lowe’s. Even with millions of square feet in speculative space arriving, the market’s overhead vacancies actually trended down over the second half of the year.

This bodes well for Scranton’s future. There’s still about 2.5 million square feet of logistics space under construction; much of it is speculative. Given the market easily filled this amount of space throughout this turbulent year, it looks likely that demand will keep up with the new supply through 2021.

Experience with creative development might be a plus in the near future as developers look to rapidly adapt to the e-commerce boom. Empty shopping malls, vacated department stores and even repurposed mines are being sought after across the state for redevelopment and expansion.

There are more than a few high-vacancy shopping malls in Scranton and quite a bit of empty shopping centers, too. It probably won’t come to this, but there’s plenty of abandoned coal mines here as well.

Scranton’s reign might be brief; there’s a lot of space in Lehigh that could lease any day. Regardless, her future looks quite promising.

*Article courtesy of CoStar

For more information about Scranton office space, Scranton retail space, and Scranton industrial space or other Scranton commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) or Lee Fein (lee.fein@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Scranton commercial real estate broker that specializes in Scranton office space, Scranton retail space, and Scranton industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Scranton commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Scranton commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Scranton commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

A Scranton commercial real estate broker with expertise in Scranton commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Scranton office space, Scranton retail space, or Scranton industrial space with the Scranton commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in Scranton commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Scranton commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Scranton office space, Scranton retail space, or Scranton industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Scranton commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and Scranton commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Murphy USA’s $645 Million QuickChek Deal Shows Growing Convenience Store Demand

The purchase of QuickChek, a family-owned regional chain with stores in New Jersey and New York, for $645 million by Southern-based gas-and-convenience-store giant Murphy USA spotlights how demand is rising for this type of commercial property in the pandemic.

The buyer, based in El Dorado, Arkansas, said it reached an agreement to buy QuickChek, which is based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. The Garden State-based company operates 157 stores, including 89 locations with fuel in North and Central Jersey, New York’s Hudson Valley and Long Island.

Murphy USA’s deal for QuickChek is part of a trend of ownership consolidation in the U.S. gas-and-convenience store sector this year in the pandemic and its restrictions on indoor restaurant dining. Contrary to other retail categories during the COVID-19 outbreak, convenience stores look like attractive investments to a growing number of investors because restrictions on sit-down dining have prompted some consumers to instead seek grab-and-go food and beverage options.

Last month, Israel-based Arko Holdings said it was acquiring 60 self-operated convenience stores, which also sell gas, in the Midwest for $100 million. And in August, the Japan-based parent of 7-Eleven stores announced it will pay $21 billion for 3,800 Speedway gas stations in the United States and Canada. When that sale closes, 7-Eleven will be expanding its North American presence to more than 14,000 sites.

Murphy USA will use its QuickChek purchase to diversify beyond its current locations, which are now typically in front of Walmart Supercenters.

“QuickChek fulfills the very high aspiration we set when thinking about what an industry-leading position looks like,” Murphy USA President and CEO Andrew Clyde told analysts on a conference call. “In making the acquisition, we not only secure one of the industry’s leading food and beverage C-store operators with its own very attractive growth plans, we greatly accelerate and de-risk the opportunity to transform our existing growth plans for new stores, raze-and-rebuilds and upgrades.”

Publicly traded Murphy USA is a gas station and convenience-merchandise retailer with nearly 1,500 sites located primarily in the Southwest, Southeast and Midwest. Its purchase for QuickChek is an all-cash transaction, which includes expected tax benefits valued at $20 million for a net after-tax purchase price of $625 million. The transaction will be financed with a combination of cash on hand, existing credit facilities and new debt. Murphy USA has obtained committed financing from the Royal Bank of Canada.

QuickChek was founded in 1967 as an extension of Durling Farms, a door-to-door milk and dairy products delivery service that originally opened in 1888. It offers quick-serve restaurant-style food alongside convenience items.

The chain has “per-store per-year merchandise sales of $3.5 million, combined merchandise margins of 38% with [food and beverage] representing over 50% of the mix, and per-store per-year fuel gallons of 3.8 million,” according to a statement from Murphy USA.

“Additionally, QuickChek has a proven history of same-store-sales growth and a rich real estate pipeline to sustain unit growth within its existing footprint,” the statement said.

Clyde said in a statement that in October the company outlined an updated capital allocation strategy and “committed to improving our food and beverage offer at existing and future sites.” 

Now, the QuickChek deal “accelerates those efforts and benefits, and is expected to provide reverse synergies across our network, while enhancing future returns on new stores,” Clyde said. “The transaction is also expected to create direct synergies that leverage our enterprise scale and our distinctive capabilities in fuel, tobacco and loyalty.”

The sale is expected to close in the first quarter.

Murphy USA has nearly 10,000 employees who serve an estimated 1.7 million customers each day through its network of gas stations in 25 states. The majority of Murphy USA’s sites are located near Walmart stores. The company also markets gasoline and other products at stand-alone stores under the Murphy Express brand. 

*Article courtesy of CoStar

For more information about New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, and New Jersey industrial space or other New Jersey commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey  commercial real estate broker that specializes in New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, and New Jersey industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier New Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other New Jersey commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

An New Jersey commercial real estate broker with expertise in New Jersey commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey industrial space with the New Jersey commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our New Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey office space, New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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More Positive Developments in Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone

It was a busy week for the commercial property market in downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania.

For those tracking the growth and development occurring within the unique tax-incentive program contained entirely within Pennsylvania’s third largest city, the past 10 days have offered plenty of reasons for optimism.

The biggest news is the Jaindl Group’s announcement that it will be proceeding with construction on a 125,000-square-foot Class A office on Allentown’s riverfront before the end of the year.

Last week, the local developer told the Neighborhood Improvement Zone authority it would soon break ground on the first project on its long-planned Riverfront development.

Jaindl, one of the region’s largest land owners, has long had big plans for the riverfront, but redevelopment proved trickier than anticipated. It has put more than $18 million into getting the infrastructure set in the 26-acre site, which sits alongside the Leigh River.

If Jaindl fully follows through with its current plans, it will put more than $425 million into the Waterfront development before it’s all said and done. That would bring 690,000 square feet of premium office space, 165,000 square feet of retail and more than 550 units of four-star multifamily to Allentown’s 6th Ward.

Jaindl will have some help from the state of Pennsylvania. The entirety of the Waterfront is contained within Allentown’s “Neighborhood Improvement Zone,” which incentivizes developers to build within the city by offsetting the financial risk of doing so.

So far, only one group has taken advantage of this plan. City Center, another local developer, has put more than $700 million building modern offices, apartments, and retail in the Hamilton District. These projects have been largely successful at lease-up, and the firm recently notched up another pair of wins.

In the past 10 days, the group has filled nearly 20,000 square feet at Five City Center, its newest four-star office. One of those firms to take space, Raymond James and Associates, consolidated three regional offices across the Lehigh Valley for city space.

*Article Courtesy of CoStar

For more information about Allentown office space, Allentown retail space, and Allentown industrial space or other Allentown commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Allentown commercial real estate broker that specializes in Allentown office space, Allentown retail space, and Allentown industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Allentown commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Allentown commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Allentown commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors, and sellers.

An Allentown commercial real estate broker with expertise in Allentown commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Allentown office space, Allentown retail space, or Allentown industrial space with the Allentown commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in Allentown commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Allentown commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Allentown office space, Allentown retail space, or Allentown industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Allentown commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey, Philadelphia, and Allentown commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Gap Inc. to Close 350 Stores by 2023 as Clothing Retailer Retools Real Estate Footprint

Iconic retailer Gap Inc. said it would close 350 stores by 2023 across its namesake and Banana Republic brands, a decision that is expected to reduce its mall-based locations by an estimated 80%. 

The nation’s largest apparel retailer said Thursday at least 225 of those locations are expected to close before the end of the year, with an additional 75 closures scheduled for 2021. As the company pulls back on locations for its unprofitable brands, it said it plans to move forward with openings for its successful ones — Athleta and Old Navy — as the two steadily contribute a larger portion of the company’s total revenue.

The drastic changes to its brick-and-mortar footprint, which were announced at a virtual investor event, come as the San Francisco-based company scrambles to retool its real estate portfolio amid a yearlong slump in sales and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“We were overly reliant on low productivity, high-rent stores,” Mark Breitbard, Gap’s new president and CEO, told investors. “We will be shrinking our North America footprint and getting out of mall-based locations, and by 2023, we will have reduced our store fleet by 35%. The goal is to create a new operating model in a cost-effective way, and all of the changes will help us become a digitally-led brand.”

Gap Inc. oversees brands including Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Old Navy, Janie & Jack, and Intermix. Its latest announcement is the retailer’s most aggressive push in its decades-long history to shift its Gap and Banana Republic business away from brick-and-mortar stores. The company had been struggling long before the pandemic against steep revenue declines, rising e-commerce competition, and declining mall traffic, which sent the number of Gap and Banana Republic stores nosediving over the past half-decade.

The company has shrunk Gap and Banana Republic’s footprint to what is expected to be fewer than 1,420 by this year’s end, from 1,843 stores in 2018. At the beginning of this year, the company had planned to close 90 Gap and Banana Republic locations. 

The firm’s dramatic increase in closings for those brands is another sign of how much retailers nationwide are struggling right now. The industry is responding to the financial distress of the pandemic by cutting back on real estate expenses and closing locations at a pace that is expected to make 2020 a record year for store closings, according to a CoStar Market Analytics report on the national retail real estate market. 

Gap’s retreat from mall-based locations could be a hefty blow for retail landlords already struggling with declining foot traffic. 

The chain plans to use the current healthcare and financial crisis as a springboard for its real estate restructuring plans. 

Gap Inc.’s Chief Financial Officer Katrina O’Connell told investors that the brand had “not had great execution over the past several years,” but the company will use current market conditions to reallocate its fixed expenses in rent and shift its resources to the retailer’s growing digital operations. 

Retool, Reset Future Growth

In the early stages of the virus’ outbreak across the United States, the retailer said it was forced to push most of its business to digital operations as a result of lockdowns and in-store restrictions. Most of the company’s 3,000 stores have since reopened, but after reporting a 165% leap in e-commerce sales compared to last year, Gap Inc. plans to continue to shift most of its future growth to expanded digital operations. 

A majority of Gap Inc.’s anticipated closures will be timed with lease expirations, but the retailer estimates it will have to spend about $210 million to buy out some of those agreements. O’Connell said the company is also aggressively renegotiating lease terms for stores that will remain open, a move that will save the company about $45 million annually. 

“Lease buy-out costs and rent reductions are all specific to our real estate restructuring efforts,” the CFO said, adding that the company is also exploring whether it should exit the European market entirely or shift its locations there over to a franchise model. 

But the company’s plan to shrink its real estate costs has already hit a few brick walls. The company has been tangled in several lawsuits over the past five months with prominent landlords including Simon Property Group, which is Gap’s largest landlord, and Brookfield over its rental obligations. Simon is suing for $65.9 million in unpaid rent and has countersued Gap’s request for renegotiated rental terms for “taking opportunistic advantage” of the coronavirus’s devastating economic effect.

Gap’s store closure roadmap has already resulted in permanently vacating its 29,043-square-foot San Francisco flagship at 870 Market St. Back in August, the company confirmed it had emptied more than 47,230 square feet of retail space in the city after closing the flagship as well as other locations at the outdoor Embarcadero Centre and indoor Stonestown Mall

Gap Inc.’s shift from physical space to stronger e-commerce growth will coincide with another transition over the next three years: Old Navy and Athleta’s increasing prominence as the company’s most profitable brands. 

Since the pandemic’s outbreak in March, Old Navy has benefited from customers looking for lower price points, while Athleta’s athleisure and loungewear clothing has fueled the brand’s plan to more than double its current $1 billion in annual revenue by 2023. 

Shawn Curran, the retailer’s chief operating officer, said Thursday that the company would be shifting its brick-and-mortar footprint to more Old Navy and Athleta locations over the next several years. By 2023, the two companies will make up about 70% of Gap Inc.’s total revenue, a significant increase from their current 55% annual contribution. Revenue from all of the company’s brands last year totaled $16 billion. 

While the pandemic has slowed down Old Navy’s store expansion plans, the brand expects to open about 30 to 40 new stores each year through 2023. It currently operates about 1,200 locations. 

“Stores matter and will remain an important underpinning to our business,” Old Navy CEO Nancy Green said, adding that “current market conditions will slow the brand’s opening pace. We’ll target new stores in smaller markets as an alternative to big-box competitors, and opening in smaller markets will minimize cannibalization of other locations.”

Athleta, which currently operates a “highly profitable fleet” of 200 stores,” will also continue to expand its brick-and-mortar footprint. 

Mary Beth Laughton, the brand’s CEO, didn’t include details as to where and how many, but said physical locations were “top customer acquisition and brand-awareness vehicles that serve as an important role in local communities,” adding that the brand has an “under-penetrated real estate footprint.”

*Article Courtesy of CoStar

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space, and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors and sellers.

A Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space with the Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Despite Bleak Near-Term Outlook, Philadelphia Economy Should Survive Coronavirus

The coronavirus spread has reintroduced factors absent from in the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets economy for almost a decade: widespread fear and uncertainty.

As we are early in the onset, and short on government data points collected after the virus’ spread, any market analyst in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space –  worth his or her salt will admit there will be a deluge of question marks hanging over the economic outlook during the next month or two.

However, it’s still constructive to take stock of what we do know, in order to build up as clear a picture of the road ahead as possible for U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings.

This CoStar Realty Information Inc. report involving U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties is being made available through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

First off, a painful near-term decline in Philly’s economic figures in relation to national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties is all but certain for this spring. To curb the virus’ spread and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with patients, Pennsylvania and New Jersey governors both ordered all nonessential businesses to close on March 16.

How long are these monumental measures likely to stay in place? China’s aggressive lockdown measures lasted about two months. The CDC recently recommended cancelling or postponing any gatherings of 50 scheduled through mid-May. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s infectious disease expert Morgan Katz expects meaningful improvements by early May.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is at the center of the White House’s economic response to this crisis and says Republican senators’ proposed Coronavirus Relief Bill, now under debate in the Congress, aims to cushion businesses for 10-12 weeks of serious disruption. That would take us through early- to mid-June.

Regardless of how long these shutdowns last, the leisure/hospitality sector and retail trade sectors in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – will likely be some of the worst-affected major industries. They represent 10 percent and 8 percent of Philadelphia total employment, respectively.

Hit by department store closures and the shift to automated or online checkout, Philadelphia’s retail employment already was on the decline before the onset of the virus. Considering how many national retailers’ balance sheets had already been eroding prior to the onset of this crisis, the road ahead looks like a painful one for the retail markets related to national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings.

Leisure and hospitality employment, supported mostly by restaurants, bars, and hotels, had been one of the metropolitan area’s fastest-growing employment sectors. Center City’s blossoming nightlife has been a key ingredient to Philadelphia economic revival over the past 15 to 20 years. The fact that the industry is now at such high risk is probably the biggest existential threat posed by the coronavirus to Philadelphia’s ongoing revival.

But overall, the coronavirus and its accompanying economic shock do not pose major threats to the fundamental drivers of Philadelphia’s economic renaissance over the past 15 to 20 years.

Philadelphia’s industry mix positions it better than most major U.S. cities to weather the negative economic impact of the coronavirus. Very few major U.S. markets have higher concentrations of the sector including healthcare, professional and business services which will likely remain most resilient in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia has relatively lower concentrations of the sectors now most at risk such as leisure and hospitality, retail and oil and gas extraction.

The city’s status as a powerhouse of healthcare innovation only gains renewed importance as a result of the current tragedy and will be a key economic benefit as the number of U.S. residents aged 70 and older grows by 40 percent over the course of this new decade.

Meanwhile, the cost of living differential between Philadelphia and its nearby competitors, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., remains massive. Philadelphia will continue to attract large net inflows of college-educated young adults moving from these places in search of more spacious housing and higher savings/disposable income.

In other words, for firms able to remain on offense during what will undoubtedly be challenging months ahead, Philadelphia remains an attractive destination for real estate investment capital seeking stable long-term growth, especially when stacked against other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. uncertainty. – By Adrian Ponsen, CoStar Analytics.

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space, and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors and sellers.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space with the Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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U.S. Economy Records Another Month of Job Growth

For the second month in a row, U.S. firms active in the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets blasted past hiring expectations, adding 273,000 net new jobs in February according to last week’s national employment report released by the Commerce Department.

The unexpectedly strong report, culled from a variety of corporations in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space –  was further bolstered by revisions to December and January payroll data that added an astounding 85,000 jobs in those months combined, bringing the three-month average job gain to 243,000 per month, a rate not seen since September 2016. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked back down to its 50-year low of 3.5%.

This CoStar Realty Information Inc. report involving U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties is being made available through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

The survey of employers related to U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings used to compile this data was administered in the second week of February before it became apparent that the coronavirus outbreak in China had spread throughout much of the globe, including the U.S. A potential preventative vaccine is at least a year or more away, according to health officials, and therapeutic treatment remains uncertain and probably won’t be available until late spring at the earliest.

To avoid widespread transmission, factories in China and other Asian nations had halted operations and workers were isolated or quarantined. Several nations have closed their borders to visitors from impacted areas, and many national and international companies involved with national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties now are restricting business travel.

This has led to interrupted supply chains for manufacturers serving the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space and a drop-off in demand for transportation services as well as travel and tourism-related services. In the U.S., as people avoid large public gatherings and events, leisure and hospitality, live entertainment and retail sectors are likely to be impacted.

While the economic impact of the virus remains unknown, the February jobs report offers insight into the underlying strength of the labor market before impacts from the virus begin to be reflected in the economic data related to national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings. This may suggest the economy’s resilience amid continued uncertainty. – By Christine Cooper, Managing Director and Senior Economist for CoStar Market Analytics, Los Angeles.

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space, and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors and sellers.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space with the Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Mixed Messages Cloud the View Toward Clarity in Economic Policy

Analysts had hoped to get some clarity in the past week on both monetary policy and fiscal policy fronts. Instead, with all the recent announcements, reversals, and delays related to trade deals, there were many moving parts with which to contend.

On the monetary policy side, the Fed formalized its intent to keep interest rates in the U.S. economy – along with national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets – steady for the foreseeable future. This was largely expected, though some comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested an interesting shift in the committee’s mindset over the previous year.

In his most recent press conference, Powell said “even though we’re at 3.5 percent unemployment, there’s actually more slack out there.” And then later, “I like to say the labor market is strong. I don’t really want to say that it’s tight.”

This CoStar Realty Information Inc. report from Robert Calhoun and Matt Powers involving economic issues as they relate to U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties is being made through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

The suggestion by a Fed chairman that 3.5 percent unemployment affecting, among other segments of the economy, the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – doesn’t represent maximum employment would have seemed crazy even just three or four years ago and would have been met with incredulity.

We know that to be true because in June of 2016, then-Fed Governor Jerome Powell said, “The unemployment rate has fallen from 10 percent to 5 percent, close to the level that many observers associate with full employment.”

We should congratulate the Fed for being humble about its ability to estimate something unobservable like full employment. You can’t see full employment, but you will know it by its fruits. Those fruits are rising wages and rising inflation.

November’s consumer price index showed little risk of an undue rise in inflation any time soon. While the monthly increase in the core consumer price index (excluding food and energy) was double that of October, the year-over-year increase remained at 2.3.

The Fed bases its inflation target on a measure known as personal consumption expenditure, which tends to run lower than the index due to differing weights. As the core index was most recently 73 basis points above core expenditure, this week’s inflation data suggests that the Fed should continue struggling to meet its inflation target and its resultant effects on U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings.

As for future wage growth, that depends on continued hiring. Earlier in the week, we got more information on the health of the labor market in the form of the National Federation of Independent Business’s survey. Widespread small business sentiment – as well as the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – appears to have rebounded from uncertainty-driven declines over the last few months.

Plans to increase both capital spending and hiring rebounded strongly, reversing declines that were looking worrisome. The reason for the improvement appears to be better November sales, with more firms reporting an increase in sales than a decline.

Firms were already seeing improvements even before this week’s improved clarity on the outlook. The survey questions about labor tightness and wage growth involving national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties showed meaningful upticks as well. Given such low recent levels in sentiment across the board, we have been expecting a slowing in growth. While this is still likely, as seen in Friday’s weaker retail sales figure, the most recent small business report says maybe we’ve found a floor.

Last week also provided needed clarity from the fiscal side after weeks of conflicting reports. On Tuesday, the Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement on revamped language for a U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal. On Thursday, the U.S. and China reportedly finally agreed to terms on “Phase One” of their trade deal, two months after it was initially reported to be agreed on.

Later is better than never, with the deal reported to call off the planned Dec. 15 tariffs and cut the Sept. 1 tariffs in half. While some details are still lacking and there is no guarantee of further progress, the worst case has been averted. Much like with the Fed, there appears a reduced chance of this issue forcing the U.S. into recession and influencing national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings. construction. (Robert Calhoun is a managing director and senior economist and Matt Powers is associate director of market analytics for CoStar Market Analytics in New York City.)

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space, and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors and sellers.

A Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space with the Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Are Retailers’ Earnings Reports Telling Us Something?

 “After seven consecutive quarters of comparable sales growth, we experienced a deceleration in our third-quarter sales,” – Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette in a statement accompanying the retailer’s most recent earning release.

Retail has been the big story these past few weeks as many publicly traded companies reported earnings for the third quarter. The tone was … not positive.

Macy’s stock fell 11 percent during the week after reporting the first decline in sales in nearly two years. Home Depot dropped 8 percent after a sales miss. Kohl’s fell by 19 percent, missing significantly while also lowering its outlook. Urban Outfitters fell by 19 percent. Nordstrom fell 10 percent. Only the Target and the TJX Companies – owner of discounters TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods – saw their shares rise after each reported a strong quarter.

It is well established by now that the U.S. economy – along with national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets – are heavily dependent on the consumer, so how worried should we be about the red flags waving in these retail earnings reports? Is this what a strong consumer looks like? The story feels like it is about more than just shoppers shifting to online spending.

This CoStar Realty Information Inc. report from Robert Calhoun and Matt Powers involving U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties is being made through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Consumer spending in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – is ultimately built on the foundation of a strong labor market. While we continue to see job growth and low unemployment nationwide, cracks could be starting to show. We have seen job openings decline in recent weeks, and now it seems employers could also be actively laying off more workers. Weekly claims for unemployment insurance rose to 226,000 last week. While still very low from a historical standpoint, claims are up 15,000 in just two weeks.

Weakness in employment appears to be regional, focused largely on the Midwest and some scattered Northeast and Western states. However, the South remains the healthiest region. Every single state in what the U.S. Census Bureau defines as the South – except Maryland and Oklahoma – continues to see jobless claims fall. The economy in Oklahoma is much more heavily dependent on oil than other states (8 percent of employment versus only about 0.5 percent nationwide), so it has seen jobless claims rise as oil prices have declined from 2018 highs. And Maryland really isn’t even in the South, right?

This regional divergence in jobless claims seems largely driven by prolonged weakness in the manufacturing sector, on which Great Lake states are reliant. Manufacturing accounts for roughly 17 percent of that region’s gross domestic product compared to 11 percent in the U.S., including U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings.

It has been noted earlier that increased uncertainty causes a decline in business activity in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – as well as a decrease in hiring. It also typically signals a slowdown in firing, as decision-makers wait to see how events such as the trade war situation play out. Is this dynamic beginning to change in a worrisome way?

That is hard to say, but if it was, you would see it first in the areas of the country that are most at risk from the trade war, and it appears as if that could be happening.

Fortunately for the economy, the consumer isn’t the only game in town. Housing continues to buck the otherwise weakening trend in most areas of the U.S. economy, with more strong data out this past week, especially involving national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties.

The National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index posted one of its best figures since the last recession in its November report. The portions of the survey that asks homebuilders their thoughts on current sales, sales over the coming six months, and foot traffic of prospective buyers all have substantially improved in 2019.

Housing starts and permits also reported a leap in the Census Bureau’s October report. By “back-of-the-envelope” math, the rise in homebuilder sentiment and issuance pace of new permits is roughly equivalent to nearly a 1 percent boost to real GDP growth among national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings. With no trade deal signed yet and wavering hiring indicators, that 1 percent becomes essential.

Meaningful regional divergence also can be seen in homebuilding activity: The Midwest is seeing declines in new building permits while the South leads the way on new construction. (Robert Calhoun is a managing director and senior economist and Matt Powers is associate director of market analytics for CoStar Market Analytics in New York City.)

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space, and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors and sellers.

A Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, Wolf Commercial Real Estate provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space with the Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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